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November 20, 2013 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Winetology Wednesday — The Interview: Antonio Galloni (Vinous Media)

Imagine this scene: in slow Wes Anderson-ion style, the camera pans across a fallow field that once gave way to gnarly old vines while a cloud of dust begins to circulate. The camera cuts to a man’s shoes: fine Italian leather. Then, pans up with a jolt to reveal: Antonio Galloni, hair slicked back, swirling a glass of wine, he takes a sip then spits and from where the juice lands, the vineyard springs back to life. Cue the music: “I Will Drink The Wine,” by Frank Sinatra.

 Vinous Antonio Galloni

Galloni’s vinous path led him from his graduate studies at MIT and a journal he founded called The Piedmont Report, focused on Italian wine, to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate where he reviewed the wines of California, Italy, Burgundy and Champagne. After Parker sold the magazine at the end of 2012, it was mere months before Galloni left his coveted position to begin anew, and founded Vinous Media, a website dedicated to enriching the wine connoisseur’s curiosity. I had the chance to speak with Galloni about Vinous and his upcoming event with Mario Batali at Del Posto:

Q: Assuming you believe something might inherently be lacking in the coverage of wine (given your leaving a prestigious post at W.A.), what is the impetus that prompted you to start Vinous and what do you hope it will do for the wine industry? What will it do for consumers?  

In my view, what is missing today is a sense of genuine excitement and interactivity. Wine lovers don’t want to be spoken to, as they have been in the past, they want to be spoken with. With this in mind, we launched Vinous, which represents our vision of a modern-day wine media platform that places consumers inside the conversation and encourages them to form their own opinions.

At Vinous we bring together professional reviews, the stories behind the wines and the perspectives of our readers in 39 countries using multimedia and leading-edge technology. We visit hundreds of wineries each year, allowing us to offer unparalleled, first-hand insight into the world of wine.

Simply put, our goal is to help readers find wines they like. If we are successful, people will find greater enjoyment in wine and as they do that, the industry will grow- something that benefits everyone.

Q. Do you think wine consumers are smarter than they were 10 years ago or with so many resources available are they ironically less knowledgeable? And if either more or less informed, what does the future hold?

AG: Consumers are definitely more informed than they were 10 years ago, and that is a good thing. At the same time, though, the world of wine has become much more complex as new, emerging regions have come onto the scene that weren’t that interesting 10 years ago, including parts of Southern Italy, France and Spain. In the US, Paso Robles and the Santa Lucia Highlands are both vibrant wine-producing regions that are just beginning to show what they are capable of.

The internet has brought with it incredible access to content in all fields, but paradoxically made it difficult, if not impossible, to separate the wheat from the chaff. In the future, people will become much more selective in terms of what they pay attention to, which means competition will root out those who can’t provide meaningful content.

Q. What do you think of the alternative dining culture in New York City? Are you seeing trends like the ones being set by UGE in other cities?

AG: Anything that creates excitement and brings people closer to food is a good thing, in my view. It’s always great to discover the newest and latest, but personally I am not a fan of trends. A restaurant that is able to thrive over years and decades while weathering the natural ups and downs that are a part of life is much more impressive.

Q.  Let’s talk about your upcoming event with Mario Batali. How do you know Batali? The dinner is $1,000 per person and is focused around white truffles. Why are you serving wines from Piemonte only and why specifically the 2004 vintage? 

Mario and I have done a number of dinners over the years. We share a huge passion for the wine and food of Italy, so working together is a natural fit. Late November is peak white truffle season, so that is what we wanted to focus on. Given that white truffles are from Piedmont, those wines are the natural match. I chose a number of top Barolos from the 2004, a very high-quality vintage I have adored since the beginning. It will be interesting to see how the wines have developed now that they are nearly 10 years old.

Q. Let’s talk avant-garde wine pairings and scenarios: 

Give me your ideal wine pairing with any of the songs from Frank Sinatra’s album “In The Wee Small Hours” and why?

AG: I have to choose Mood Indigo, a jazz classic, paired with a contemplative wine that unfolds gracefully over many hours. Barolo.

What’s a great wine to drink just before proposing marriage? Best to drink after a “No” response? After a “Yes” response?

AG: “Yes” – A great Champagne, naturally. Something racy and exuberant, like the 2002 Dom Perignon. “No” – Same wine choice. Different reasons. You have to treat yourself well in difficult times!

What wine would the Notorious B.I.G. drink if he was alive today?

AG: Fine aged white Burgundy.

Best wine pairing for bacon? 

AG: California Central Coast Syrah

Q. UGE readers are keen on clandestine happenings – do you have anything planned in the near future that warrants a “clandestine” description and if so, what can you hint at that won’t give away the vineyard (so-to-speak)?

AG, Tuscany in the City. An incredible day highlighting the great wines of Tuscany. We always so something special for our premium subscribers that is definitely clandestine. For Friday’s dinner we are doing a private tasting of Selosse lieux-dits Champagnes, which are incredibly rare.

This interview also appeared on The Bloggery at UndergroundEats.com on Wednesday, November 20, 2013.

November 19, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Thanksgiving Scenarios and Wines That Will Make You Shine

This, from First We Feast:

For Turkey Day wine suggestions that get to the heart of the matter, we called up our favorite wine pro, Jonathan Cristaldi, and asked him to make a pick for each of the potential scenarios one might encounter over the holiday. From his slightly insane mind—and always on-point palate—straight to you, here are the wines that will have family, in-laws, friends, and strangers crowning you king next Thursday.

And you are invited to read my scandalous scenario-recommends… read here.

October 18, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

The Top 5 French Wines Your Father Drank and Why

Courtesy of FirstWeFeast.com

When it came to vino, turns out dad was a goddamn boss. Here’s how to be more like him.

Imagine a world where common television commercials featured wine, Chianti came proudly in straw baskets, and Liebfraumilch (mother’s milk)—a sweet, simple, inexpensive German wine—was in vogue. Prior to the infamous 1976 Paris tasting, in which a panel of reputable tasters awarded first place to a California red and white wine, most of Americans were not convinced there was much quality in domestic wine. Most were drinking sweet mouth-puckering concoctions that came by the gallon and whether these fermented juices paired well with dinner was of little consequence. But then, there wasyour dad.

He’d been to France. He’d taken a wine class in college and had friends whose parents referred to their wines merely by vintage—the “55s,” “59s,” and “61s.” This man, the patriarch and protector of a carefully curated family wine stash, would bring to the dinner table bottles of red wine sporting labels riddled with foreign words.

Read Full Article on First We Feast.

September 26, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Winetology Wednesday on UndergroundEats.com

Today’s Sermon: “Acid Trip

Go to Bloggery.UndergroundEats.com to read my article.

Last bi-weekly Winetology recommendation was the 2009 RED C Cabernet Sauvignon from Covenant Winemaker Jeff Morgan. Jonny’s take: I love this wine but I’m terrified to say anything about it because I’m visiting the winemaker next week and he used to write for the Wine Spectator. I’m no fool. It’s damn good, that’s all.

This week’s Winetology Recommendation is: 2010 Val de Mer Chablis 1er Cru from Burgundy (France) retailing at about $38 per bottle and will probably be the most expensive white you’ve purchased in a while – go for it, treat yourself. Look for it at your local wine shop via wine-searcher.com.

Swirl often, savor, and above all think after you drink.

– Jonny Cigar, Wine Evangelist to the Stars

September 5, 2012 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Winetology Wednesdays on UndergroundEats.com

Holy Smokes! Holy Corks! Is it true?! My most recent post was June 15th? Faithful Winetologists hear me out:

I moved to Los Angeles mere days after the post below. I’ve just returned from a short trip to NYC to participate in #CabernetDay and that event was chronicled quite well by the lovely and talented Michelle Young of Untapped Cities – here.

About a month ago I began writing a  bi-weekly column on The Bloggery at UndergroundEats.com. My inaugural post is here and the second post, about #CabernetDay is here.

I hope you enjoy and you may begin once more to check here regularly for writings on all things wine, wine likely on wine. I’ll also begin writing about wine and will occasionally touch upon wine and wine culture and wine drinking and tasting and rating and likely will showcase winemakers who make wine. For now, enjoy this short video on how NOT to saber delicious bubbly:

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